Spin the Wheel and Pick Something To Blame

What causes Autism      What causes Autism?  Oh, let’s see…recent reports would have us believe it is everything under the sun…except genetics.  Parents everywhere are looking for someone or something to blame and for every parent wanting to point a finger, there are at least two quacks who will sell you a cause, a test for that cause, and a handy dandy cure.

1. Vaccines.  Vaccines have been blamed on everything from AIDS to Cancer to Autism.  Many parents of newly diagnosed children are looking at the MMR or Thimerosal.  Oddly, it was the DTP (not given anymore due to the development of the DTaP) first blamed for Autism.  Then it was the MMR.  Then it was the Thimerosal.  Now it is the aluminum.  Personally, I am not convinced either way.  I know several parents who did delayed and selective vaccinations and their kids still have ASD.  I also know parents who did not vaccinate their children at all, yet the kids have ASD.

2.  Ultrasounds – Oh yeah…never mind that Autism and Asperger’s were around decades before the ultrasound.  Never mind that ASD rates began climbing years if not a decade before free standing ultrasound shops in strip malls existed.  

3. EMFs –   I can say without a doubt, that my son was born before cell phones, beepers, satellite radio, and high speed internet were wide spread.

4.  Advanced Parent Age – Yes boys and girls…older parents pop out kids with ASD!  What is the definition of Advanced Parental Age anyway?  Every family I know of, except my mother in law, was in their early to mid 20s when they gave birth to their child with ASD.  Are we to understand that our prime baby making years are in our early teens?  Has a study been done to investigate how many older parents know to seek a diagnosis?  Hell, I didn’t even consider the idea that my son could have autism until my MIL pointed it out.

5. Pitocin/Induced Delivery/Forceps and Vacuum Extraction – yes, the use of these things may have increased greatly.  A recent study showed that for women with preeclampsia/PIH, induction at 37 weeks greatly reduces complications, harm, and death to the mother and baby.  Another recent study showed that children born via induction actually experience lower rates of learning difficulties.

6. Food allergies/Yeast infections in intestinal tract/”leaky gut” – First, those things have also been blamed for everything from hair loss to cancer. Recent studies have also reported that the GFCF diet is largely ineffective to children with ASD.  (let the hate comments fly.  I am cold and unfeeling, what the hell do I care)  Other recent studies have also shown that children with ASD are no more likely to have digestive problems than non ASD kids.  In fact, what digestive problems do show up with kids on the spectrum are almost always attributed to their selective and nutrient poor diets.

Now I am all for exploring causation but where does it stop?  Most kids are diagnosed after their second birthday.  Should we investigate birthday cake or parties as a cause?  Rates of Autism have increased along with rates of parents who breastfeed.  Should we look at breast milk as a possible cause?  Hey!  My son started showing symptoms of Autism shortly after getting the Chicken Pox…not the vaccine, the actual virus.  Maybe we should study a possible link for that?  I took prenatal vitamins while I was pregnant, maybe they gave my son Autism!  I went swimming often and took a lot of walks while I was pregnant.  Could that be the cause?  We moved just weeks before Alex showed symptoms.  Could relocating cause Autism?  My husband started going out to sea about three or four months prior to Alex being diagnosed.  Maybe military dads cause Autism!  See how how easy it is to just pick something out of a hat and link it to autism?

Why is it that studies showing no link are so quickly dismissed by parents and studies by people with questionable backgrounds and motives showing a link are clung to with a fanaticism only seen in Sarah Palin supporters and “birthers”?

To the guy (you know who you are) that wants to pin the blame solely on big medicine….they do not get a red cent from behavioral therapies.  They are poorly reimbursed by insurance companies.  DAN doctors make far more money per patient than a board certified pediatrician does.  Companies making GFCF foods are rolling in it…yeah, no financial gain to be had by touting that cure.  Mega vitamin makers convincing everyone from chiropractors to optometrists to promote their goods as an Autism cure are doing well.  I see no benefit in big medicine when it comes to Autism.  Yet, alternative medicine is making a killing off parents who are desperate.  How many DAN doctors accept insurance?  How many charge on a sliding scale?  How many accept Medicaid?  Who is really in it for the money?

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0 thoughts on “Spin the Wheel and Pick Something To Blame

  • August 11, 2009 at 10:44 am
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    kids with autism are ridiculously smart most of the time, they just show it and different ways than we can understand. my friends little brother has autism and my little sister and little brother have aspberger’s. those three kids way smarter than i’ll ever be. it just takes them a while. they just think differently i guess

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  • August 11, 2009 at 12:58 am
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    Interesting post.  I personally believe that many, if not all of these factor into what causes autism.  But feel free to believe as you will – no one has proven ANYTHING as of yet.

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  • August 10, 2009 at 11:33 pm
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    The wheel tells me that digital time keeping equipment is increasing the rate of autism!  The digital faces of clocks and watches have taken the thought out of the clock watching that everyone does when anticipating an event.  Whether it be the end of the workday, a favorite tv show starting, or the moment of birth, everything the world does depends on knowing the time.  What part of the brain has become inactive since we have no longer had to decypher the fingertips of the clock hands to the second?  Imagine if everyone had to look twice and think about what time it is?  We would all have a sharper intellect!  That is why I keep my digital watch set to military time…at least half of the day I have to really think about what time it is.

    Oh yeah…this was a great article.  Unfortunately, those too intelligent (or the opposite end of the spectrum, as the case may be) will take it personally!!

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  • August 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm
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    I don’t know much about Autism, but thanks for sharing the knowledge.

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  • August 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm
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    You are right to be skeptical.  I just posted about my own diet experience.  I don’t believe gluten intolerance causes autism.  However, I do believe a percentage of kids are misdiagnosed with PDD when they actually have a gluten intolerance.  But then again, it could be pine trees.  I live around a lot of those.  

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  • August 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm
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    Big Pharma most certainly makes beaucoup bucks off of disorders like autism.  Not from the behavioral therapies that are occasionally given to autistic kids (if their parents can afford to get them or are some of the lucky 1% who can get their LEA to provide it), but from the multiple prescriptions for psychotropic medication that the children are placed on once they become too much for their parents, the schools and society to contend with.  The situation has become so great, that several states have actually sued Jansen and Lilly for the excessively high cost of their big blockbusters, Risperdal and Zyprexa.

    I do not believe that Big Pharma is deliverately making kids autistic for the cash stream.  But I do believe they are making the most of the “opportunity”, and from the lawsuits filed, at least several State AGs think so too.

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  • August 10, 2009 at 8:16 am
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    Good lord, what has Sarah Palin got to do with it? No . . . really?

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  • August 10, 2009 at 7:58 am
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    Brilliantly written. I enjoy reading the article very much. Have you read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre?  I don’t think it would teach you much, but I think you would enjoy it. It is by a doctor who also a medical researcher and science journalist. He explains not only why such theories such as the MMR vaccine do not hold water, but also how they begin and are sustained. He also, perhaps more importantly, explains why otherwise clever people continue to believe in them. 

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  • August 10, 2009 at 1:42 am
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    I actually wonder about the truth, I want to find out for myself what causes autism.  I don’t exactly see the benefit of it in our society and our world, but I’d like to find out the cause.  I just don’t think it’s right to point a finger at just about anything that pops up with a possible cause.

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  • August 9, 2009 at 11:05 pm
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    @abilene_piper_lg@xanga – Actually, one of the latest theories out on diabetes is it got humans through the ice age since high blood sugar freezes more slowly, also seen in several other species.  Cystic fibrosis is an adaptation to really bad water, if you are a carrier of a bad gene you’re more likely to survive dysentary that kills tens of thousands.  Plenty more disease and genetic problem theories out there explaining why they are so prevalent.  Coming from a genetic pit and being a nearly 25 year lupus survivor (on top of being aspie), I think weeding bad genes out would probably weed out all the drive in the human brain to work harder to survive.  And frankly, if autism lends to problem-solving, sure don’t wanna weed that one out, if it creates things like the world wide web, satellite communications, HD television…  Silicon Valley is famous for stuff like that and having high autism rates.  I’m certainly not the fittest, but I’ve had a very successful marriage, raised two kids who work hard and pay taxes, spent a decade acing stuff in college, saved someone’s life…  Who is to measure what exactly is the ‘fittest’?  Personally, I’m the most emotionally healthy person I know.  There are plenty of ‘fit’ people out there who don’t have successful lives.  I think a better theory would be the clever, cruel, and lucky survive, because that seems to be the way of the world.  If it weren’t, explain Hollywood to me.

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  • August 9, 2009 at 9:49 pm
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    @abilene_piper_lg@xanga – No, not only the “fittest” will mate, but they are more likely to mate. “Fitness” depends a lot on habitat, which leads back to what I said in my first comment. The incest thing is kind of irrelevant, because genetic “defects” aren’t caused by incest. Hidden beneficial genes are just as likely as hidden detrimental genes to be expressed as a result of incest. You still didn’t answer my question.

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  • August 9, 2009 at 6:17 pm
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    @freetheleafcutterants@xanga – In pure evolutionary terms, undesirable traits are also weeded out through natural selection and selective breeding, am I not right? Only the fittest will mate and produce offspring with desirable traits. Granted, it takes several generations to weed out undesirable traits. Humans, however, don’t really care, however they are the only species that doesn’t really care about “undesirable” traits, most of which actually come about through incest (things like hemophilia for example). 

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  • August 9, 2009 at 6:09 pm
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    @abilene_piper_lg@xanga – In evolutionary terms, reproduction is the sole purpose of life. How can it not be a right, especially if our species has the ability to manipulate its environment in ways that allow those of us who have genetic “disorders” the opportunity to live fulfilling lives and to reproduce successfully?

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  • August 9, 2009 at 5:33 pm
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    Thanks, I enjoyed your article, even had a chuckle or two. I often think if folks just spent the time and energy on trying strategies/therapies that may help their kids with ASD instead of the time and energy wasted on the ‘blame game’………………..

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  • August 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm
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    it’s everyone playing the blame game.
    my brother has autism[asperger’s], and i do not.
    we both have had the same kind of care and vaccinations
    etc.

    people need someone or thing to blame.

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  • August 9, 2009 at 1:08 pm
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    I’ve got the solution if you think it’s so genetic: TEST THE PARENTS FOR THE AUTISM GENE. If they test positive, force sterilization upon that parent. Then we will ERADICATE autism. Since when has having children been a fundamental right, after all? 

    For anyone who wants to respond, YES, I DO support forced sterilization on carriers of certain genetic diseases as to weed them out. However, this cost-effective strategy isn’t even considered by the government. Why? Because it’s a violation of rights? Please. Having a child is not a right. But because it’s cost effective, and the government doesn’t want cost-effective treatments, they want your money. 

    So the average pediatrician (median salary $200,000/yr) makes LESS than a naturopath? Wow, I didn’t know naturopaths made that much money (ummm…well…maybe because the average one makes less than $100,000/yr). I don’t need insurance to see my homeopathic practitioner, he charges me $20 for an office visit, full price. Amazing. 

    Reply

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